Irony in the park, good vs. evil, to leak or not to leak, lessons of the ignored sibling, and postcards from around the world.
After four days off we need a high octane Monday Morning Rouser.
1) GRACE IN POWDERHORN PARK
In this era of polarization and disagreement, perhaps we can all agree on this: A woman and her kids ought to be able to go to the park and not be sexually assaulted by teenagers while her kids watch.
That, as you may have heard, was what happened in Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis last Wednesday evening. So this Wednesday, a group of area residents is holding a vigil in the park to try to reclaim it.
The release, which you can find here, has all the details.
Meanwhile, on E*Democracy’s Powderhorn Park neighborhood forum, the woman involved posted a letter to the community. Here’s part of it:
I do want to correct one major inaccuracy in the news that I have read. None of us were raped, to the best of my knowledge. Yes, I was sexually
assaulted but the girls did manage to fight off the boys and escape before
anything happened. I really have a huge repulsion at the labeling of us as
victims. I see us as strong and capable of taking charge of our safety.
I find it ironic to have had this experience as I currently study
nonviolence, restorative justice and the healing of childhood trauma. I got
to put my studies and my practice of mindfulness into play as the incident
unfolded. The whole time I made a conscious choice to see the boys as human
beings, not to see them as evil or bad. I focus my attention not on the
boys’ actions but the pain behind their actions. I see those boys as
hurting, scared children who didn’t get the kind of nurture, love and care
that they needed. I try to hold them now in compassion and hope that they
might get the support they need to reconnect to their essential goodness.
With the system of justice that we currently use, I’m hopeless that will
Four “boys” have been arrested. We don’t know their names because they’re juveniles and the system doesn’t release the names of juveniles. Should it? Without their identity, nobody outside of the judicial process can know how kids grow up to behave like this.
2) GOOD VS. EVIL
The news this weekend — crime in Powderhorn Park, attempted bombings at a Christmas tree lighting in Oregon, the Koreas edge toward war — has made our head hurt from shaking it so often. The imponderable: What makes some people good and some people evil? Two tales of both:
Susie Nyberg of Fargo was left homeless when fire swept through her apartment building last month. With nothing but the clothes on her back, she went to Walmart to buy a few things, the Fargo Forum reports:
“I was visibly shaken with red, puffy eyes by the time I reached the checkout. All I could think about was the priceless family heirlooms, home movies and pictures that were in danger of being lost,” Nyberg wrote.
“As I proceeded to check out, a man approached me and gave me $48 he had left from his shopping and told the clerk to apply it to my purchases,” she wrote.
“He asked if my daughter and I had a place to stay that night. He was willing to open his home to strangers.
“He helped me out to my car and put the bags in my trunk. He gave me a big hug and asked if he could pray for my daughter, our dog and me.
Meanwhile, in the Twin Cities, a woman was mugged after a benefit her friends held for her to help defray the expenses of a recent stroke.
“When there are fundraisers like this, there are people that go to them to scout out, to scam somebody, maybe mug somebody, Minneapolis police Sgt. Jesse Garcia told KARE. “There are people that actually prey on these things.”
In Wisconsin, a dying man wasn’t going to live long enough to see his son graduate from college. So the university brought the graduation to him.
You can fight fire with good. More than 70 percent of the firefighters responding to calls for help are volunteering their time.Question: What’s the nicest thing anyone ever did for you?
3) TO LEAK OR NOT TO LEAK
The last time most of Minnesota heard of Wikileaks was when it posted the entire donor database of then Sen. Norm Coleman. It’s small potatoes compared to the firestorm that’s erupted after the site published thousands of State Department cables including an urging by Saudi Arabia that the U.S. attack Iran.
Against a request by the White House, the New York Times printed the cables, and suggested they came from a private in the Army. Pvt. Bradley Manning was an intelligence research analyst. (He’s in the brig now. Here’s a Web site that sprouted to his defense.)
Should the Times and other news media have printed details about the cables? The editors explained the Times’ decision here.
The question of dealing with classified information is rarely easy, and never to be taken lightly. Editors try to balance the value of the material to public understanding against potential dangers to the national interest. As a general rule we withhold secret information that would expose confidential sources to reprisals or that would reveal operational intelligence that might be useful to adversaries in war. We excise material that might lead terrorists to unsecured weapons material, compromise intelligence-gathering programs aimed at hostile countries, or disclose information about the capabilities of American weapons that could be helpful to an enemy.
The Times’ blog, The Lede, is fielding reader reaction. So am I.
4) LESSONS OF THE IGNORED SIBLING
Children who have siblings with chronic illnesses or disabilities often find their lives are constantly interrupted by medical emergencies that trump regular kid cares like birthday parties and soccer games. These children learn at an early age to put another person’s needs first and are often better adjusted in the long run.5) POSTCARDS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
The Northern Lights, Norway version. (h/t: BuzzFeed)
From Liberia, MPR’s Toni Randolph has posted several videos from her tour of the country, including this one: The women who helped broker a peace agreement during the country’s civil war. Now they gather in “peace huts.” Find more videos and photos on the Facebook page, Toni Tours Liberia.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE DAY
After the exchange of artillery fire between North and South Korea last week, President Obama reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to South Korea’s defense. Is the defense of South Korea a vital U.S. interest?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: A planned boycott of new TSA screening procedures didn’t materialize over the holiday weekend, but questions are still being raised about the necessity of full body screens and pat-downs. Have airport security procedures gone too far?
Second hour: While researching her best selling book “Seabiscuit,” Laura Hillenbrand stumbled across an article on Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who endured incredible hardships during World War II. She reached out to him and forged a connection that she chronicles in her latest book.
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: The gubernatorial recount begins today. Studio guest: Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.
Second hour: Broadcast from the National Press Club featuring Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Yet another discussion about airport security procedures.
Second hour: Steve Martin
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Jess Mador trails a public defender for a day to look at how budgets are causing public defender shortages and existing public defenders to take on more and more cases.